Monday, October 27, 2008

Night Out on the Town

Located on the Drake campus, down the street from Drake Stadium and the Knapp Center is Peggy's. Peggy's is a Drake University institution that has been located at the same spot since the early 1960s. It has been open since my father worked on his masters degree at Drake and is still open for business for current Drake students.

Peggy's is a bar. A college bar. Nothing much more than that. In recent years, I've noticed it isn't open on a daily basis, but while driving past last Saturday, it appeared to be running strong, waiting for the fans to exit the Drake football game.

College Football Week 9

As you may have read, the Iowa Hawkeyes had the week off which allowed me to watch some football. However we took in a FCS game involving schools who do not offer scholarships, Drake and Davidson.
The ladies who grace this page belong to Washington State. We must honor them as it takes much to cheer on a team that holds try outs for the quarterback position. Typically a team who has lost any chance at post-season play looks forward to the last game of the season. But the Cougars' last game is at Hawaii. Win or lose, who wouldn't be looking forward to that. Let's hope these ladies get to make the trip.

Big Ten Scary Possibility I--Penn State (9-0) looks at the possibility of going undefeated and not play for the national championship. Alabama and Texas are ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions. If each team continue to win, they will earn their spot in the BCS Title Game. This wouldn't be the first time the Nittany Lions will have been subbed a chance to play for the title. 1993 was the most recent time as Penn State defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl. As long as Penn State win out (at Iowa, vs Indiana, vs Michigan State), odds are Texas or Alabama losing at least one game. Having talked with some at State College today, they feel confident in winning their next three.

Big Ten Scary Possibility II--If Penn State loses one of their next three games, and Minnesota wins out (vs NWestern, vs Michigan, at Wisconsin, vs Iowa), the Gophers would get the automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. Penn State and Minnesota do not play each other this season, and it comes down to the Big Ten tiebreaker sending the Gophers to Pasadena.

Big 12 Rugged Schedule--Texas continues a brutal stretch this week travelling to Lubbock and face #7 Texas Tech. Tech recently scored 63 at Kansas. This battle may be the first to 50 wins. Tech is in the middle of their own rugged schedule. Last week at Lawrence, KS, this week Texas, next week Oklahoma State, followed by a trip to Norman, Oklahoma.

Inside the Game

Many stadium within the Big Ten quarrantine the replay officials. Not Michigan State. The Spartans keep their booth open so people, like me, are able to look in as the replay techinician reviews the play.

The system is set up by DVSport and allows the men in the booth to look at every angle of every play fed to them from the television truck. There they can review any angle as often as they'd like at any spped they'd like.

Although the replay official is there to get every call right, it isn't always the case. Check out last Saturday's game at Michigan involving the Spartans. Although the officials can review every play, knowledge and interpretation of the rules supercedes the call.

Hawkeyes - Illini

Iowa resumes conference play Saturday by taking on the Fighting Illini in Champaign this Saturday. Kick off is slated for 2:37 on ABC in Big Ten Country--ESPN around the country.

Sean McDonough, Chris Spieleman and Rob Stone will call the game on tv while Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak and Rob Brooks provide the sights and sounds on the Hawkeye Radio Network. For those attending the game, the broadcast can be found on 87.5.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bulldogs Win 20-17

On a Bye Week for the Iowa Hawkeye Football team, I convinced the Engelbert family we needed to attend a football game. We decided to road trip to Des Moines, stay in a hotel and take in the Drake - Davidson game at Drake Stadium
Drake Football was an event my Dad (Drake grad) and I would attend as tickets to Iowa Football games were hard to come by. Drake Stadium has gone through a major renovation since then and is a nice place to watch a game. However it must be the best kept secret in town. Less than 3,000 were in attendance. Bulldog football is quite a bargain. Inexpensive concession prices, and for their next game, the final home contest of the year, tickets will only be $1.
On this day, Colin would only last three quarters, but it may have been one of the more exciting games I've attended this year. Drake led 20-10 as we left, but Davidson pulled to within 3 early in the fourth. Listening to it on the radio, it sounded like a back and forth battle from there until late. Davidson was able to mount a drive which put them in position for a game-tying 38 yard field goal with :07 to go. However that kick was blocked and the Bulldogs sealed the victory.

Fans "flocking" to Drake Football.

Drake Stadium "filling up" prior to kick-off

Here Comes the Bulldogs!

Andy Green 46yd INT return for TD

Colin and Mommy wanting a T-Shirt shot to them

Drake may have better cheerleaders than Iowa

However the band was a disappointment.

Colin and Daddy posing with Spike

Beautiful day on the Drake Campus

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Night Out on the Town

We head back to Chicago's Wrigleyville for this week's spot. Murphy's Bleachers located across the street from the entrance to the Wrigley Field Bleachers is the spot for a cold beverage and brat or burger prior to any Chicago Cub home game.

One of the more famous spots to be seen, I have run into Chicago Cub greats as well as friends who know this as the meeting spot prior to heading into the bleacher section. During my bachelor party in the late 90s, the late Rod Beck who currently served as the bullpen closer was meeting friends. A member of my bachelor party approached him for a picture with us, and when told of the event the advice he gave me for marriage was, "Don't."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn in the Midwest

While driving to the Kroul Family Farm, Colin and I enjoyed the changing of the seasons. Below are pictures from a perfect October evening around the Coralville Lake. They were taken while driving 55 mph on the road that connects Solon and North Liberty.

Kroul Family Farm

It is an off-week on the Iowa Football schedule. Taking advantage of a Monday without practice, my son Colin and I visited the Kroul Family Farm south of Mt. Vernon on Highway One. The Kroul family has a son who plays on the defensive line for the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was our first adventure to the farm, and my son completely enjoyed himself.

Above is the entrance to the Kroul Family Farm. It is decorated for Halloween.
Colin enjoys shopping in this wagon.

Colin finds running along the Hay Bale maze to be quite fun.
One of the better photos of Colin enjoying this Autumn late afternoon.
Colin appears to be lost among the pumpkins, but finds Dracula.

Members of the Kroul Family Farm's Petting Zoo.

Sittin' in the Principal's Office

What we need is another Ronald Reagan.

After listening to another Barack Obama speech on the radio tonight, I can't believe this race is a close as it is. I am not endorsing Obama, and wish the Republican Party could find a better challenger than John McCain. Barack continues to emphasize "Change." Americans aren't sure what this "Change" is, what they do know is that they want something different than the last eight. The economy is on the decline, and while the price of gas has been coming down, it did peak at over $4 a gallon earlier this summer. The Stock Market has experienced record lows over the last month and people want the conflict in Iraq to be over.

John McCain isn't as engaging as Obama and has a running mate that discouraged many in the Republican Party. Many in the Republican Party has swtiched their allegiances including former Iowa Representative, Jim Leach and former Bush 42 Cabinet Member Colin Powell. That is definitely unfair to John, but it is definitely a sign of the end of the Republican Party on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is coming to an end.

Please GOP, find a young, energetic and well-spoken individual to run for office four years from now. Don't be surprised to find this year's results to be a blow-out.

Friends of the 21st Century

An overlooked CBS show is "How I Met Your Mother" seen Monday nights. It is at a bad time, opposite Monday Night Football and another favorite of mine, "Chuck." However my wife and I do find the time to watch this every week.

Watching it tonight brought me back to one of my original theories on the show. HIMYM follows the lives of five New York twenty-somethings. Their hangout is the local bar where much of the conversation takes place. Relationships are a major theme, especially those of Ted and Robin, who were engaged, but called off and remained friends. Barney also is interested in Robin, while Lily and Marshall are married.

There are many similarities between the two shows, but HIMYM lacks the following that Friends enjoyed during the 90s. CBS has stayed committed to the show, but the end is inevitable.

HIMYM is well-written and refreshing.

College Football Week 8

One rivalry trophy on the line this past week was the Rusty Toolbox which goes to the winner of the Iowa - Wisconsin Manager game. This year's game was played late Friday night in the Iowa Indoor Football Complex, better known as "the Bubble."
Iowa took the lead 7-0 with a defensive touchdown, but Wisconsin fought back in the second half with their own touchdown. Deciding for the tie with much time to play in this Flag Football game, the Badgers decided to go for one, and failed. The Hawkeye Managers won the game 7-6 and the toolbox stayed in Iowa City for the fifth consecutive year.
Other news and notes...

"The Sporting News" failed to recognize the accomplishments of Iowa Running Back, Shonn Greene. Greene was not one of their "Players of the Week," rather going with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradord (36 comp, 466 yards and 0 Ints) and Akron RB Dennis Kennedy (277 rushing yards and 3 TDs). Greene only had 217 yards and 4 TDs. There was no mention of Greene in the Sporting News' Heisman Watch. It is tough to place Greene in any watch on a three-loss team, but he should garner some attention.

Penn State has finally exorcised some of their demons. After losing nine straight times to the Michigan Wolverines, the Nittany Lions followed up a slow start with a convincing 46-17 victory. Their next demon is to finally win in Columbus, Ohio--something that they have not accomplished since joining the Big Ten.

Speaking of Ohio State and Penn State, it looks like these two teams will meet in Ohio Stadium to decide the Big Ten Championship. Assuming Penn State is a legitimate #3 team in the nation, it should be able to beat the Buckeyes. Although Penn State still has to travel to Iowa City and host Michigan State, the number three team in the nation should win out. A loss to Ohio State and each team winning out should place each in the BCS at the end of the year. Something the mediocre Big Ten does not deserve.

A Long season--San Diego State may wish this long season be over. Last week the Aztecs lost 70-7 to New Mexico. Chuck Long may be facing his final few games as SDSU head coach.

BCS Talk--Utah and Boise State have cracked the top 12 of the BCS poll. The College Football Season is only a little more than half over, but these two teams seem to be in good position for a BCS bowl berth. However don't forget Tulsa, ranked at #19. They continue to state their case for a top ten ranking.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hawkeyes 38-16

To the tune of "Ron Dayne," today it would be "Shonn Greene!" 217 yards and four touchdowns later found the Hawkeyes dominate a Wisconsin Badger team that is searching for its next win. Iowa improved its record to 5-3 and 2-2 in the Big Ten with a much needed bye week in its sight. The Badgers slipped to 3-4, 0-4 in the Big Ten with Illinois on the horizon.

The Shonn Greene attack was simply beautiful if physical, running football is your thing. And today many witnessed his speed to escape the Badger secondary on many of his long runs. Sharing time with Greene is Jewel Hampton who physically pounds the ball on the defense, but today it was Shonn Greene's day.
The Heartland Trophy is the second travelling trophy brought back to Iowa City in 2008. This rivalry trophy began in 2004 and this will be the third year the Hawkeyes will have possession. Earlier this season the Cy-Hawk Trophy was regained with a victory over Iowa State.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Night Out on the Town

For the first time in almost twenty years of travelling to Indiana we stayed within the city limits of Bloomington. This allowed us our first opportunity to experience some of this Big Ten city's nightlife. One place we stumbled upon was Nick's English Hut.

Upon arrival we were told the upstairs was currently closed by the Fire Marshall. We weren't sure why as the downstairs, which upon first look resembled a 50's pizzeria, was close to empty. We ventured to the back of the establishment. It looked more like an old neighborhood pub with tight quarters and a small bar area. There were all types of people as well as what appeared to be a local group who follow politics that met to discuss the latest topics. It is here we witnessed a new drinking game.

Now I'm not a proponent of drinking games and have rarely taken part in any, but this was a specialty of the house. A pail of beer held an empty 8oz drinking glass. One by one each member would poor more and more beer into the glass. The person who put the last drop of beer which submerged the glass had to drink the entire glass. Once again, don't try this at home.

After watching a couple of rounds of the game we went upstairs to find more of the same. However, off to the side was a set of doors which opened to a larger, more modern bar area, typical of what you would find on a college campus. Music, televisions and a place to hang out.

People of all ages could be found at Nick's. There is a spot for you somewhere within.

Hawkeyes - Badgers

Bucky Badger rolls into Iowa City for a critical Big Ten match-up for both teams. Wisconsin has dropped their last three games, two of which (Michigan and Ohio State) they were in and had chances to win. Just recently they were destroyed by Penn State. A loss to the Hawkeyes and Bucky starts the Big Ten Conference Season 0-4 with games against Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota on the horizon. They finish the season at home with Cal-Poly. Cal-Poly is currently in the FCS (formerly 1-AA) top ten. The Badgers need wins soon. Definitely, a Badger loss and their season is in Jeopardy.

This week's game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. Mark Neely, Glenn Mason, Chris Martin and Anthony Herron will call the game. Of course all can tune into Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Game time is 11am.

We know the Badgers are desperate for a win. This car was seen recently parked close to the Iowa Football Complex. Could this be Wisconsin Head Football Coach and former Iowa Hawkeye Bret Bielema?

College Football Week 7

The adjacent pictures tells it all from Ann Arbor. Rich Rodriguez may be able to get the storied Michigan football program back to national prominence, but it is suffering some very low times. For the first time in 25 attempts a Mid American Conference school has beaten the Michigan Wolverines. Toledo pulled off what many would consider an upset when a Michigan Field Goal went wide left with four seconds to play. It is hard to say when the next victory will come for the Maize and Blue. They have yet to face Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Minnesota. Yes, Minnesota. There are no easy teams left on the Michigan schedule. They must go 4-2 to be bowl eligible and keep their consecutive bowl streak of 33 alive.

The National Title should be decided between representatives of teams in the Big 12 and SEC. Each have had schools hold the #1 spot in the polls and the top tens have been dominated by schools from these conferences. Texas is the current holder of the top spot and with wins over their next three opponents will solidify their spot. It begins this week with Missouri, followed by Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Those three teams have a combined one loss among them. That loss came this past week when Missouri fell to Okie State.

Who is the worst football team in Division I? While Syracuse has been losing, the Orange has had least made games competitive. They held a lead in the fourth quarter against Pitt two weeks ago, and lost 17-6 at West Virginia this past Saturday? There are many contenders such as Washington and I saw first hand how poor Indiana can be. But my vote goes to Washington State. They gave up 66 points to Oregon State over the weekend and 42 of those came in the second half. It has gotten so bad for Wazzu that current students have been asked to audition for the role of scout team QB. Whoever played that role this previous week may look to be a starter soon, that is if they prepared the defense for what 66 points would look like.

Goodbye Tommy Bowden. Too bad you couldn't schedule your father more.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Images from Game Day in Bloomington

Inside Assembly Hall is Indiana's Athletics Hall of Fame. Among those are Dick Enberg, former Iowa Basketball Coach Steve Alford, and current Iowa Softball Coach Gayle Blevins.
Indiana's Mens Basketball Locker Room. Access to the Assembly Hall court was restricted.

Tailgators outside Memorial Stadium
"The Walk" for the football team originates in Assembly Hall, through the parking lots to Memorial Stadium. This was started by former IU Football Coach, Terry Heppner.
Beyond the parking lots of Memorial Stadium is the IU Campus
Contrary to popular belief, this picture was not taken at kick off. There were only a few more fans at that time. Assembly Hall is behind the stadium.
The Iowa Marching Band made the trip to Bloomington. Here they are performing prior to the Big Ten Football game.
The IU Dance Team performs along the IU Marching 100.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


On a warm and sunny day in Bloomington, Indiana, the Iowa Hawkeyes dominated the Hoosiers 45-9. The Hawkeyes struck early following a Brett Greenwood interception on a Trent Mossbrucker field goal, but it was a day of the running backs. Both Jewell Hampton and Shonn Greene rushed for over 100 yards for the first ime in move than 18 games. Hampton had two touchdown runs, while Shonn scored one, but their hard running between the tackles keyed the Iowa. Indiana was able to make it 17-9 at half, but never came closer than that.

After Iowa scores to make it 38-9, the Indiana faithful begin to leave.

Friday, October 10, 2008